German Cookbook from a Professional Kitchen
By Hans Rockenwagner, Jenn Garbee, and Wolfgang Gussmack
Prospect Park Books, $29.95, 208 pages
Italian, Asian and Mexican cookbooks keep popping up like mushrooms after rain. But not German. German food has not been popular in this country, yet Hans Röckenwagner created Das Cookbook specifically for American home cooks. This is a beautifully produced and beautifully illustrated cookbook by a professional chef who turned into a commercial high-end baker. No wonder the first chapter focuses on breads and pastries.
“This book is a compilation of some of my favorite recipes I’ve adapted for home cooks who want to explore the foods from my native Germany.”
As most professional chefs, translating his cookbook into a home kitchen is a serious challenge. Röckenwagner did not fully succeed. The recipes are truly German and excellent but for home cooks most are going to be more than a slight challenge. These are mainly complex recipes from a professional kitchen with preparations readily available there, but not in a home kitchen. For many recipes the list of ingredients will intimidate even the most dedicated home cooks (thirteen ingredients for simple pancakes, nineteen for quinoa Benedict) and many require preparations elsewhere in the cookbook. The photos alone may intimidate you. The recipes are well written, their layouts are mostly cook-friendly, the head notes are good, and the sidebars are useful. Artful mixing of English and German is a nice touch (“Our Daily Brot”).
Reviewed by George Erdosh